After working from home for over a year, the idea of having to wear uncomfortable work clothes to head back to the office may make you cringe. We’ve all discovered that comfy clothes and work clothes don’t have to be antonyms anymore. This is great, except now we’re grappling with how to reconcile our newfound love for comfy work clothes with what’s appropriate to wear back to the office.
Luckily, loungewear has become one of the chicest and most popular sectors of the fashion industry. This means that comfy clothing no longer equates to your standard hoodie-and-sweatpants outfit. These days, the concept of comfy clothing has taken on a whole new level of sophisticated flair. Comfy clothes are not only stylish, but they also are versatile and acceptable office wear. Read on for our tips on how to style your favorite comfy pieces so that they’re work-appropriate.
Relaxed fit and flare dresses are one of the easier pieces to make work appropriate. Start with a dress that is of good quality in a neutral color. Try a lightweight cotton, midi-length summer dress. Alternatively, select a knee-length linen shift dress that’s perfect for late summer and can easily transition to fall when worn with tights. The key to dressing up just about anything, especially dresses, is to put on tights or pantyhose, add work-appropriate heels or flats, and layer a tailored black or neutral blazer or cardigan on top.
The acceptability of wearing leggings to work is a big point of debate. Of course, if you work in a corporate setting where business professional or formal looks are the rules, you may want to save the leggings for the weekend. But, if you have a little more wiggle room than just a suited look, then style your leggings in a way that keeps you both comfy and work-appropriate. When deciding to wear leggings to work, choose your leggings wisely. Opt for neutral or subtly patterned leggings, and be sure they are opaque. Leave behind leggings made of athletic materials; that contain zippers or pockets; are in bright colors or patterns, or have any other features that could draw attention to the fact that you are indeed wearing leggings to work.
Leggings should always be worn with a top that covers your hips and backside. Because leggings are tight, it’s always good to wear them with a loose-fitting top, such as a long tunic top, a dress, or an oversize shirt. To dress leggings up even more, you can add a snazzy blazer or jacket. Also, choose shoes and accessories wisely. Boots are a great way to dress up your leggings. Or, use statement jewelry to draw attention to the other elements of your outfit. The goal is to make this famously comfy staple appropriate for the office.
Wearing your favorite sweatpants to work is perhaps not the best choice, but you can still wear a comfy pair of loose-fitting pants that will have you feeling comfortable all day long. Choose a pair of wide-legged pants that are neutral in color and made of a material that is appropriate for work. We love the look of a comfortable pair of wide-legged high waisted pants with a tucked-in blouse and a chic looking cardigan or blazer on top. Wear some small heels to give yourself a little more length and make your comfy wide-legged pants even dressier.
We realize we suggested avoiding sweatpants, but the fashion industry has indeed reimagined and brought them into the mainstream. For those who work in a business casual dress code setting, feel free to explore wearing a stylish pair of sweatpants to the office. Designers have made some sweatpants borderline office-appropriate by switching up cuts and materials to make sweats more flattering. Make sure you choose a pair where the material is on the thin side and not chunky or bulky.
Avoid sweatpants with elastic gathering at the ankle; instead, opt for a pair where the ankle is tapered. Tapered ankles will flatter your silhouette and make any pants look good. Choose a neutral color—ideally black—and we highly recommend wearing heels or other snazzy shoes, such as booties, to dress up the pants. Definitely do not wear a sweatshirt over your sweatpants to work. Everything else about your outfit must compensate for the fact that you’re wearing comfy sweatpants to work. Choose a high-waisted pair of sweatpants; tuck in a nice blouse, add a blazer, and you’re good to go.
Your comfiest shirts can also make an appearance at the workplace. Grab a white linen t-shirt instead of your couch potato cotton and dress it up with some sleek slacks and a blazer. Go for that oversized knit that feels great while chilling at home but can also be worn to the office over a blouse and with a pair of dress pants. Opt for an oversized button-down shirt worn over black skinny jeans or a pencil skirt and styled with a fashion scarf for a laid-back yet sophisticated look. Or go a little wild and style your comfy, chic silk kimono over your dress pants and a black turtleneck for a statement work outfit that’s not too over the top. The key to styling your cozy tops for work is to be sure they are neutrals, the materials are high quality, and they’re paired with dressier pieces.
No need to lament comfy workwear. Get adventurous with styling some of your favorite comfy pieces to make them perfect for the office as well as the sofa.